Kevin M.D. has an interesting post about the poor implementation of current EMR efforts. As his post notes, none of the innovation people see in online apps like Facebook or Google Docs are being used in EMR services. The post primarily refers to a piece by hospitalist Bob Wachter. So yea.. Why hasn't social networking affected EMRs yet?
One problem is that much of health information technology is staffed and programmed by has-beens. There is very little innovation, with most of forward-thinking ideas confined to sites like Google, Facebook, and MySpace.Indeed, a EMR with a Facebook-style interface would be a godsend. I think the real problem currently though is not necessarily a lack of technological know-how, but rather the high cost of implementing such systems and the relatively poor demand. Furthermore, the medico-legal environment also contributes to physicians being unwilling to abandon the old forms that worked on paper. Hopefully one day physicians will take that step en masse into the brave new world of social networking-based EMRs.
It would be nice if an electronic record was designed with the singular focus being the end-user experience. They should make physician's lives immeasurably easier, and significantly decrease the time spent charting and tracking patients.
There are very few record systems that meet even this minimal standard.
An EMR like Facebook? We can only wish.
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